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lated ; and, though there are some mistranslations in both Testaments, they are comparatively few. But Dr. Clarke, taking advantage of the common impression, has carefully advertised his readers, that, in order that he might know the truth, he divested himself, as far as it was possible, of “ all the prejudices he might have received from pre-conceived opinions,” and “ examined the originals of the Sacred Books; and, for his own use and satisfaction, translated every word of the Old and New Testament." The result, he states, of his researches was, “ the fullest conviction, that the doctrine of justification by faith, through the atoning saerifice of that Eternal Word which was manifest in the flesh, is the only way by which a fallen soul can regain the favour, and be restored to the image of its Maker; and be at last broughty through the sanctification of the Divine Spirit, to the ineffable glory of God."
Never was a saving clause introduced with a ridre happy effect into a penal code of laws, than the lucky expression “ as far as it was possible,” in the advertisement of Dr. Clarke. Those who have read his notes to his edition of the Bible, must have recollected the numerous, the repeated attempts he makes to effect a coincidence between his elucidations and the received orthodoxy of the Solifidian professors. Nay, so far does he carry his attachment for his own opinions, that he takes upon himself, in several instances, to suppose that a word or passage has been omitted or superadded; and has even assumed the responsibility of asserting, in one or more cases, that there must have been au error in the transcribing of the original, and that a different word, which he undertakes to suggest, must have been intended. When we reflect with what a providential care the Old Testament has been handed down to us, that, in order to effect this merciful design, the Lord has been pleased to perpetuate a distinct race of people, and to impress upon their minds an awful reverence for the very letter of the Word, so that not one point or tittle of the law should perish; when we behold this people, at this very day, so deeply sensible of the importance of the trust confided to them, that not a man of the congregation of Israel would dare to alter a word, a letter, or an iota of the Sacred Record, how astonished must we be, to see a writer thus represent the Holy Bible as liable to all those erasures and amendments to which human compositions are exposed ?
Having thus, we trust, shown the nature of Dr. Clarke's exemption from prejudice, and established the fact, that his acquaintance with the originals only enabled him the better to con firm his own pre-conceived opinions, without conferring upon him any illumination which is not equally attainable by the unlettered disciple of the Lord, we shall now proceed to the merit of the work itself. The discourse, as it is entitled, has for its subject the circumstances recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, xvi. 30, relative to the earthquake which led to the conversion of the jailor, who had Paul and Silas in his custody. The particulars of the voyage into Macedonia of the apostle and his companion, are detailed with a good deal of prolixity ; and their travels and adventures are recorded in so circumstantial a manner, that one would suppose the sermon to have been composed on the bookmaking principle. At length, however, the doctor comes to the point, and states that men have proposed five ways by which salvation is to be attained ; and, except these five schemes, he can recollect no other. These are,
“ 1. By the law of works: or the merit of obedience to the law of God.
“ 2. By works of supererogation.
“3. By penal sufferings in the life to come, such as those purgatorial fires, imagined by the Church of Rome, and the pretended emendatory infernal punishments, which make a principal part of the doctrine both of the ancient and modern universal Restitutionists.
« 4. By the metempsychosis or transmigration of souls ; as a portion of moral evil is supposed to be detached from them in each of the bodies which they successively animate.
“ 5. By the mere benevolence of God, who may, it is affirmed, without any consideration except that of his own innate eternal goodness, pass by the sins of a transgressor, and bestow on him eternal glory.”
He then proceeds to refute these several systems, commencing with the first.
It is important, in every discussion, that the expressions made use of by the parties should be clearly defined, in order that no misunderstanding may exist. Now, by the law of works, which is reputed to be not of a saving nature, we have always supposed to be meant a mere observance of external rules of moral life, unconnected with an internal sense of duty to God ; such, for instance, as a rigid conformity to propriety of conduct, and even to the commands of the decalogue, arising from considerations of a selfish or worldly nature. We certainly never entertained the opinion that the Christian world rejected from its creeds the idea of salvation by repentance, and a life in conformity with God's commandments. And yet Dr. Clarke, who, from his quotations from the thirty-nine articles, professes to teach the doctrines of the Episcopal Church, positively denies the efficacy of such means. In describing the state of one who is supposed to inquire, “What must I do to be saved ?” he says, “Will any man say to this alarmed and despairing sinner, Thou must purchase thy pardon and the kingdom of heaven, by a life of righteousness : God requires obedience to his law; and that, joined to sincere repent. ance, will induce him to forgive thy iniquities, and admit thee at last, to His eternal glory » » The proper reply to this question, would be, to ask the learned writer if he recollects the answer given by our Lord to the young man, who asked him what good thing he should do, that he might have eternal life? If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, was the prompt and comprehensive reply of the blessed Redeemer; and if the Scriptures throughout do not teach, that sincere repentance, and a life of righteousness, in obedience to the laws of God, are the means of salvation, then we are entirely at a loss to understand the import of such language as this, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hæng all the law and the prophets." Nay, if these be not the sole means of attaining salvation pointed out to us in the Sacred Volume, as comprising the union of faith and charity in the production of good works, the very Church for whose tenets the learned doctor professes so exalted a veneration, has been guilty of an unpardonable error, in giving a place, in her Common Prayer Book, to such heretical sentiments as are contained in the following language : « And, above all, keep in our minds a lively remembrance of that great day, in which we must give a strict account of our thoughts, words, and actions; and, according to the works done in the body, be eternally rewarded or punished. *"
The arguments used by Dr. Clarke, to show the inefficacy of good works, are so much of a piece with those we have seen in a small pamphlet, published by “The Religious Tract Society of Philadelphia," for gratuitous distribution amongst the poor and labouring orders of society, that we cannot omit embracing the present occasion to present it to the notice of our readers. It is entitled “ The True Riches,” and is in the form of an address, from which we have extracted, as a specimen of the doctrines it inculcates, the following passage :
6. Do you ask, what shall I do, that I may partake of these riches ? This question, perhaps, a sinner sometimes puts to himself; but it implies a great mistake. . To the same purpose was that inquiry, Good master, what shall I do, that I may inherit eternal life?' and that question, put by one under the alarm of an awakened conscience, - What shall I do to be saved ?' The proper answer to such a question is short and simple ; Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved :-as much as to say, there is nothing at all to be done, no work to be performed, no penance to be endured.. Christ has done the whole work: he must have all the honour of it. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Believing is opposed to working or doing of any kind.” The writer then proceeds to state, that the means of salvation, here referred to, is simply a belief that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” An acknowledgment of this truth, it is asserted, confers salvation, and justifies the professor from all things. It is truly to be lamented, that, in the Christian Church, so universal an ignorance should prevail as to the organization of the human mind; and yet, without a knowledge of this particular, man is liable to fall into the grossest errors, and the most dangerous delusions. It is, among other reasons, to a want of a proper acquaintance with the distinct properties of the will and the under. standing, that the fatal mistake of salvation by faith alone has so long maintained its empire in the church, almost to the total extinction of charity and good works. Without recollecting that the belief, constantly referred to in the New Testament, as pos. sessing a saving nature, is a conversion of the heart to God, a regeneration or new birth of the will and its affections, men have been taught, that a mere assent of the understanding is all-sufficient, without any exertion, on their pårt, to co-operate with the divine grace. That this is not a saving belief is evident from the words of the apostle James; for he asserts that even devils believe, and our blessed Lord has himself declared, that, to gain admission into the kingdom of heaven, a man must do the will of God.* If this species of believing, inculcated by the Lord Jesus Christ, is opposed to doing of any kind, as is asserted by the author of “ The True Riches," then we shall be compelled to conclude, that all the invitations to eternal life, all the promises and merciful inducements held out in the Bible, to prevail upon man to turn unto God, and to yield. fruits worthy of repentance, is a solemn mockery.
In relation to works of supererogation, we shall not differ from Dr. Clarke. The idea of merit in works is perfectly' preposterous. God requires nothing of us, that a good and affectionate parent does not require of his children, which is, to lead such a course of life as will make us happy. To pretend, then, that by doing what he commands us, for our own good, we are entitled to a reward, is just as silly as was the conduct of the pauper who was in danger of perishing from cold in the street, and, being invited by' a gentleman to come into a house and warm himself, demanded a compensation for his obedience. The doctrine of works of supererogation is an extension of this principle, and supposes that an account current is registered in heaven, in which, if an individual has more entered to his credit than a sufficiency to settle his own debts, the balance may be transferred to the credit of another, who has fallen short. To the good sense alone of our readers, we are willing to leave a decision upon this point.
As to the third scheme of salvation said to be invented by man, we entertain the following opinion, which exactly coincides neither with that of Dr. Clarke, or of those whose belief he' condemne. The nature of punishment, as far as we are acquainted with it, is two-fold,—first, as emendatory of the offender, and secondly, as exemplary to others. All idea of retributive punishment is condemned, as having its origin in vengeance, one of the worst of the human passions. Now, as we cannot but believe that all the good qualities of the human heart are images, and bat faint ones too, of the divine attribute of love, we cannot predicate
* Matt. vii. 21.